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Aug 16, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Emirates to offer in-flight connectivity over the North Pole and Arctic Circle

On 10 July Emirates unveiled details about its partnership with Inmarsat, as a result of which the airline’s passengers will enjoy uninterrupted connectivity on all its flights. The signal currently cuts out for a few hours when flying over the Arctic, a situation that should be addressed by 2022.


Emirates announced on 10 July that the WiFi services it offers passengers will no longer cut out when flying over the North Pole. Flights to and from the USA pass over the Arctic, with connection being lost for up to four hours as a result. The carrier announced that it has teamed up with satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat to address the problem.


The Earth’s curvature


The black spot is caused by the geostationary position of the satellites that provide aircraft with a connection. Most satellites are in orbit over the Equator, and owing to the Earth’s curvature, the antennae of aircraft flying in the far north cannot pick up signals from the satellites, even when operating at an altitude of nearly 12,000 metres.

Inmarsat is currently working on two elliptical orbit satellites designed to provide coverage over the Arctic region. The satellites should be operational by 2022 and will provide passengers with uninterrupted connectivity from take-off to landing. In using their devices, they can watch Emirates’ very own ice TV live, which shows live sport and breaking news. 


A source of pride for Emirates


The Dubai-based carrier takes its in-flight services very seriously, with connectivity a key area that is tied into its commercial strategy. “We’re delighted to be able to offer this service, which will allow Emirates to maintain its position as the market leader in uninterrupted in-flight connectivity on all our routes, regardless of which part of the world they are in,” said Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Emirates.

The airline offers WiFi services on all the aircraft in its fleet. A basic service is provided free to all passengers, while the members of its various loyalty programmes enjoy additional services. An average of more than a million WiFi connections are established on Emirates flights every month.


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